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Posts tagged: Idaho politics

TJR: Idaho’s 3 Political Parties

According to a new statewide survey of Idaho voters, the state now effectively has three political factions – very conservative, very socially conservative folks, very conservative and less socially doctrinaire voters and a shrinking group of Democrats. The three factions – think of them as almost three different political parties – has served to fracture the Idaho political landscape in a way that may make it even more difficult in the foreseeable future for so called moderates, and especially Democrats, to win major political office/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Is there only hope for Idaho liberals in the short term … or even longer term?

EOB: Labrador plans fundraiser in Puerto Rico

Idaho GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador plans to travel to his native Puerto Rico next week to raise money for his campaign against Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick, the AP reports, with a $500-per-person reception next Thursday. More here at Eye on Boise


Pockets of strong support for challengers who lost…

In two races in which the incumbents won handily this week - state Controller Donna Jones by 56.5 percent to challenger Todd Hatfield’s 43.5 percent, and Idaho Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick by 58.4 percent to challenger John Bradbury’s 41.6 percent - a look at county-by-county results shows pockets of strong support for the challengers. Hatfield beat Jones in 9 of Idaho’s 44 counties, while Bradbury beat Burdick in 12, including taking 79 percent of the vote in Clearwater County and 75 percent in Nez Perce County./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

WaPost: Labrador latest insurgent to buck establishment, then consider joining it

The Washington Post, in its “The Fix” political column today, calls Idaho 1st Congressional District GOP nominee Raul Labrador “the latest insurgent candidate to beat back the establishment and then be faced with joining forces with it,” and reports that Labrador is “going with wholesale changes to his staff and is looking at bringing in more established political team, including possibly some consultants favored by Washington.” It also notes Labrador’s endorsement yesterday by Mitt Romney - who yesterday endorsed Idaho’s entire top GOP slate, including Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Mike Crapo, Rep. Mike Simpson and Labrador - and says that in an interview, Labrador told The Fix that his politics are similar to those of former Idaho Rep. Bill Sali, but his approach is different./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Question: Will Labrador become an ‘establishment’ GOP candidate?

Candidate’s tax problems don’t hinder big win in Tuesday’s primary

P. Tom Sullivan, a former Coeur d’Alene restaurant owner and now a businessman in Tetonia, Idaho, won the Democratic primary on Tuesday for a chance to challenge U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo in the fall. The day before the election, Sullivan issued a press release acknowledging that he’s struggling to pay delinquent taxes, after a bank failure erased his business line of credit. “I’ve always been responsible and paid my debts, and I am paying this one,” Sullivan said. “I’m working out of it, like a lot of people.”

Sullivan took 74.6 percent of the vote in the primary, to 25.4 percent for William Bryk, a lawyer from Brooklyn, N.Y. who’s never been to Idaho, but who filed for the seat to ensure Crapo had opposition. Six years ago, Crapo made history when he ran unopposed, but for a write-in challenger, for his second term in the Senate./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Question: Why did the guy from Brooklyn get 25 percent of the vote?

Why results took all night…

The one county whose election results took the longest to determine - the same county where a prominent longtime state senator, Gary Schroeder, was defeated by his GOP primary challenger - had an 11 p.m. machine malfunction that led to a technician driving from Kootenai County to Moscow to try to fix the problem without success, followed by carting the remaining Latah County ballots off to another county for counting, then returning them to merge the results. The whole thing didn’t wrap up ‘til 6:35 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. The ballot-counting machine was only three years old./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Benewah County: T-Rex country?

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell, the former elk rancher and militia movement backer whose campaign trademark this year was a giant inflatable T-Rex he towed behind his brightly decorated campaign RV, took 26 percent of the vote to incumbent Gov. Butch Otter’s 54.6 percent in the primary, with the remaining challengers in single digits. But in two counties, Rammell beat Otter: Benewah and Idaho counties, while in Boundary County, Otter edged Rammell by just two votes. In Idaho County, Otter got just 40 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Rammell; in Boundary County, both were at 43 percent; and in Benewah County, Rammell made his best showing, winning the GOP primary for governor with 57 percent of the vote, while Otter drew just 34 percent.

So is Benewah County T-Rex country? That’s one possible interpretation. Another: Very few people voted. Rammell got 603 votes there, while Otter had just 358./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Creator of Ward/Obama video mashup says it was ‘propaganda’

Lucas Baumbach, the Boise Republican legislative candidate who created the widely circulated video mash-up juxtaposing phrases from speeches by Vaughn Ward and Barack Obama, calls himself a “RINO hunter” and a “Tea Party activist” and is blunt about why he created the mash-up: Because he supported Raul Labrador over Ward. His video mash-up gives the impression that Ward, in his announcement speech in the Idaho Capitol on Jan. 26th, parroted Obama’s 2004 Democratic National Convention speech word-for-word, though that’s not exactly the case./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Labrador: Ward/Obama video mashup was ‘just the icing on the cake’

1st District GOP congressional nominee Raul Labrador, asked by Eye on Boise about the impact of the video mash-up of speeches by opponent Vaughn Ward and Barack Obama that circulated widely online for the last few days before the election and was featured on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on election night, said, “I think it was just the icing on the cake, I don’t think that it made the difference.” Labrador noted that the earliest results that came in, which consisted of absentee votes from Ada and Canyon counties that could have been cast weeks ago, showed him ahead./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Ward: ‘I learned a great deal from this experience’
Labrador: Ward has served honorably
Otter at GOP unity rally: ‘Now we are one team’

Primary brings changes to Legislature

Here’s a link to the final, unofficial statewide results from the Secretary of State. Of interest: Six legislative incumbents lost to their challengers in the GOP primary: Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake; Sen. Lee Heinrich, R-Cascade; Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa; Rep. Rich Jarvis, R-Meridian, who lost to the man he replaced, former Rep. John Vander Woude; Sen. Charles Coiner, R-Twin Falls; and longtime Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow, the chairman of the Senate Resources Committee who was defeated by Tea Party candidate Gresham Dale Bouma./Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Labrador looks forward to November after upset victory in 1st CD GOP primary

State Rep. Raul Labrador issued this statement this morning after his upset victory late last night in the GOP primary for the 1st CD. Unofficial final results show Labrador winning with 47.6 percent of the vote to 38.9 percent for Vaughn Ward. “I’ve received a call of congratulations from Mr. Ward, and I appreciate his graciousness,” Labrador said. “I want to acknowledge his service to this nation and his hard work as a candidate.”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise

Question: Why’d he win? And why did Ward win in Kootenai County?

High Noon: Older Idahoans Dominate

In Idaho, according to, 56 percent of the population is 50 or older. Of that group, 37% identify themselves as Independents, 29% as Republicans, and 17% as Democrats. In other findings, 60% of the 50-and-older crowd said they always vote, 23% that they vote most of the time, and 6% sometimes. Also, 53% of the 50-and-older population say they lean conservative, 26% moderate, and only 8% liberal. Full results here.

Question: How would you describe your political leanings: conservative? Liberal? Moderate? And/or: How often do you vote?

Ken Roberts withdraws from 1st CD race

Idaho state Rep. Ken Roberts announced this morning that he’s withdrawing from the 1st District congressional race, in which he was vying for the GOP nomination for a chance to challenge 1st District Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick. Roberts cited “an unexpected health issue,” and also hinted that another “conservative” candidate might be getting into the race to replace him, saying he’s heard from two who have a “strong interest.” “I now feel I can responsibly withdraw from the campaign, knowing that one of them will continue to defend our cherished principles,” Roberts said in a statement.

Already in the GOP race is Vaughn Ward, an Iraq war veteran who’s been campaigning hard and who had out-raised Roberts, as of the last campaign finance report, by more than four times. Ward noted that yesterday, he was endorsed by the American Conservative Union./Betsy Z. Russell, S-R, more here

Question: What do you think is at stake in the race for North Idaho’s congressional seat in 2010?

Sen. Risch is among the richest in Congress

Freshman Idaho Sen. Jim Risch is the 13th wealthiest member of Congress, according to a new analysis by Roll Call newspaper, and is richer than the late Ted Kennedy, Sen. John McCain or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Roll Call pegged Risch’s minimum net worth at $19.29 million; he’s the only senator or congressman from Idaho or Washington to make Roll Call’s “50 Richest” list. / More here at Eye on Boise

Question: If you were that wealthy, how would you spend your time?

Dueling endorsements in GOP primary race for Congress

Vaughn Ward, the decorated Iraq war veteran and former McCain-Palin campaign official, and Ken Roberts, the Idaho House majority caucus chairman from Donnelly, are announcing dueling endorsements in their face-off for a shot at challenging 1st District Congressman Walt Minnick, with Ward announcing the endorsement of Kootenai County GOP Chairman Brad Corkill, and Roberts the endorsement of state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, the 29th Idaho lawmaker to endorse Roberts/More here at Eye on Boise

Question: Whose endorsement makes a difference to you?

Rusche op-ed: Dems continue to lag in Idaho, despite gains elsewhere

Idaho House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, in an op-ed piece, notes recent Democratic gains throughout the West. “Yet the Democratic brand continues to lag across much of Idaho,” he writes. “We know that our fellow Idahoans will not shift long-held voting patterns unless they have compelling reasons to do so. So here’s my best shot at telling you what Idaho Democrats stand for.” Click here to read his full article.

Question: Are Idaho Democrats misunderstood?

Idaho Dems launch candidate hunt

The Idaho Democratic Party is launching a “special candidate recruitment committee for the 2010 elections,” at a time when, with the 2010 primary 10 months away, the party has had no major candidate step forward to challenge sitting GOP Gov. Butch Otter. State party Chairman Keith Roark said the committee will be headed by former U.S. Attorney for Idaho Betty Richardson. “Betty did an outstanding job with candidate recruitment when she led the Ada County Democrats.  Now she will bring those skills to bear at the state level,” Roark said; you can read the party’s full announcement here. Richardson also was a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2002; she’s now a Boise attorney. More here at Eye on Boise

Question: Who could the Dems put forward?

Former Senator McClure Suffers Stroke

Item: Former Idaho Sen. Jim McClure suffers stroke/Idaho Statesman More Info: Former Sen. Jim McClure, who represented Idaho in Congress for 24 years, suffered a stroke on Friday and is in the intensive care unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. McClure, 83, was stricken at home in Garden City, according to his son, Ken, a prominent lawyer in Boise. Early Saturday, doctors diagnosed the stroke, Ken McClure said Tuesday. Question: How many of you remember McClure from his U.S. Senate days?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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